Forget about Copyright. SHARE!

by Ksenia Anske

Photo by Kyle Thompson

I expect you to give me grief for this title and for the whole "ignore copyright" idea. I get it, trust me, I've been there. I've trembled my share of fear, my terror of thinking how someone will steal my dear writing and gleefully run away and post it somewhere and somehow screw up my writing career. Don't ask me how they'd steal it, I never imagined it this far, but it did sound horrible without it. At least that's what I've been told by others, and that's what I've read everywhere, and that's what I assumed. Well, I'm about to drop a bomb on your head, and I will totally get it if you tell me to go stuff my face with dead parrots or transport myself into a bog of eternal stench and never show my nose in public. I will totally understand. But, if you're curious to learn from my journey and apply it to your own brilliant writing, read on. I'll flaunt some juicy facts to show you something amazing. Are you ready?

You have a higher chance of not being discovered than being stolen from. All right, I don't remember the exact statistic or where I heard it or read it, so perhaps I'm exaggerating here a little. But it comes from my start-up days. Yeah, I had a start-up once, and yeah, I was paranoid like all beginning entrepreneurs that someone might steal my idea. Well, after having brushed with investors for years and having them laugh in my face at this, I got cured. Permanently. Then I became a writer last year (don't ask, it's a long story) and was faced with the same problem all over again. OMG, I thought, if I post my stuff online, someone might steal it! It was my boyfriend who persuaded me to post an excerpt to my novel, and the results have blown me out of the water. The feedback was phenomenal, and I have learned a ton from what people told me. I also recently sent out first 18 Chapters of Draft 5 to anyone who asked. This time it happened from the light hand of Hugh Howey whom I bug with stupid questions sometimes. His phenomenally successful book WOOL has started life as a short novella which he sent out for free to anyone who asked. WOOL is now published by Simon & Schuster, with all the perks. See? Go post your novel excerpt online. Share. Share. SHARE!

You're no longer just a writer, you're a marketer too. Whether you want it or not, whether you publish traditionally or go indie, in both cases you've got to promote your book yourself. You've got to find your reader base, make your book discoverable, and find people who will read it. And exactly how will you do it if you're a nobody? By sticking your book under everyone's nose? Why would people want to read it? Because you have some amazing characters in there, solving some amazing problems? Nope. We don't care. If you're a new author, we only will read your book for 2 reasons: either we know you as a person and like you and want to read it because you wrote it, OR a friend told us we should. That's it. So then, tell me, how will people find out about you and your book if it's not shared anywhere? People have to glimpse the guts of what your book is about, what are you are about, how it was created, etc, etc. They have to be invested in you enough to be willing to spend their time on your shit. How do you propose you do that without letting them take a glimpse? You can't. So then, share. SHARE. And the more, the better. You'd have to be J.K. Rowling to be worried about your manuscripts being stolen online, trust me.

Keep your fans happy, and they will move mountains for you. This was the scariest thing for me to admit, and I still want to run and hide under my bed, because I didn't expect anyone to care for my story when I posted it. The truth is, I have fans now. Real fans. People sent me e-mails telling me they are fans. Every time I get one, I pinch myself to make sure it's true. And when they ask me to share my story with them, THEY RULE. I will share with them, because they asked me to. Because it's an honor for me to know that someone out there wants to spend their precious time on my story. I mean, it's amazing! And I do. And you know what happens? It's like a chain reaction, you keep one fan happy, and that fan will tell 10 more friends. That's how word travels, that's how people will find out about your book and actually want to to read it. So, don't wait another minute. SHARE.

There, these are my big 3 reasons. I know I listed a 600 words rule in my very first posted excerpt, but I know better now. No rule applies, except the fact that most people won't read a blog post that's longer than 1,000 words, so try to limit your excerpt to that. I dare you to share! Post links to your novel draft excerpts below. 

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How to market your book: POP YOUR EGO

by Ksenia Anske

Photo by Kyle Thompson

That's right, I haven't even finished my book yet, let alone marketed it. I haven't even marketed anybody else's book, for that matter, so why exactly are you reading this? I'll give you one reason. I'm a reader too, and depending on how you market your book, I'll either pick it up or never grace it with a second glance. This, of course, applies mostly to indie authors as you guys have to do the work yourself. But more and more traditionally published authors have to pitch in as well. And, boy, do I get turned off sometimes. You. Don't. Want. That! Cause I read A LOT! And, well, I used to do social media marketing, so I hope I know something. Without further ado:

Play the underdog. This is surprisingly easy and works every time like a charm, yet people forget it and think that if they shove a link to their book in my face, I will drop everything and run screaming to check it out, to read it, to review it, and to tell all my friends and my entire extended family in Russia (hmmm, maybe THAT is not exactly what they want, but you get the point). Well, I won't. And not because I don't like you or I don't want to read your book. NO! Because you didn't ask nicely. Because you didn't delight me with a joke about your horrible self and your horrible book. Because reverse psychology always works. It does! Tell me I should never EVER click that link, and I will die from curiosity. It works like this: Tell a teenager she can't smoke, you bet she will. Tell her she can smoke, she'll... (well, this is another story, shall we move on already?)

Use a sense of humor. Get used to people beating you down and telling you your stuff sucks. Play it off with good humor, good sarcasm, a good joke. People lynch you NOT because they don't like you, it has nothing to do with you. Most of the time is has to do with them spilling their coffee on themselves in the morning and looking for that convenient target to spill their anger onto. Here is the trick. If you approach people with a sense of humor and don't take their remarks personally, they'll blow off their steam, and then they'll talk to you like to a human being. And you have a chance of them actually checking out your book (especially if this happened on one of your social media channels - because people tend to be more expressive online than they are in person).

Grow up. Oh, what did I just say? OMG. Did I tell you to grow up? Yeah, I did. Here is what some authors do. They run around and befriend people, tell them about their book (without actually being asked first) and then push it onto people to read it, or like their Facebook page, or whatever. Then, immediately, if they don't get a positive response or a promise or a LIKE, they unfollow you everywhere, cross you off their friends list, block you, strike you, close their mouth and don't speak a word to you as if you're some enemy. Sheesh, GROW UP! Stop your toddler tantrum and understand that people are busy! They might actually check out your book if you give them time! Which leads me to the next point.

Learn patience. Didn't your mama teach you? People are busy, and it's polite to ask one time and then wait. It's also polite to ask if the person MAY be contacted next week, and then wait till next week and actually contacting the person like you promised. So, instead of friending me on Goodreads, then flooding me with event messages and group invites and other stuff, and then, when I don't respond, blocking me, WAIT. Give me time. I can't go through all these, and sometimes I don't respond simply because I have no time! Some people keep asking me, how did you coax A. Lee Martinez to guest post on your blog? Easy. Patience. I've been patient and courteous and gave him time and each time played up his late response to my e-mails with humor, and won him over (I wonder if he'll agree after reading this?). Anyway.

Be yourself. I don't even have to write anything here, do I? Stop pretending you're some big best-selling author, just show people who you are, with all your pains and tears and doubts. We're all human, and we want to read your book to connect, to feel, to glimpse some sense into the course of humanity and continue living. If you keep puffing up your chest as if you're the best out there, we won't trust you, because we know we're not perfect. And if you're saying you are, then maybe you're lying about something else too. And we don't want lies, we want truth woven into genuine stories. 

To sum up. This is NOT a blog post about the technicality of how to market your book, where, etc, etc. There are plenty of those already written. This is a post about tucking your big writer's ego away for the benefit of the reader WHILE you're at it. However you do it. Please, take that rusty nail. Drive it in. Oh, I heard it! IT POPPED! Good job. Now, tell me what you thought, and give me a nail in turn. I need to pop my ego too, get carried away sometimes. Guilty.

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